Photo: Illegal Reentry Now Top Reported Criminal Charge, Surpassing Illegal Entry
According to a recent report, illegal reentry to the U.S. has become the top criminal charge, as it accounts for almost a quarter of all criminal prosecutions, and almost half of all criminal immigration prosecutions filed in the first half of fiscal year 2011.
Using data from the Justice Department, the report, from TRAC Immigration, a non-partisan organization out of Syracuse University, showed that there were 18,532 new prosecutions for illegal reentry during the first half of fiscal year 2011.
The report states:
Trends over the past twenty years show how, under the Obama Administration, prosecutions for this statute continue to top those under previous administrations (see Figure 1 and supporting table).
Illegal reentry is a felony offense and results in longer sentences than the second most frequent immigration charge brought this year, illegal entry, which is classed as a petty misdemeanor. During the first six months of 2011, the average prison sentence was 14 months for those convicted where illegal reentry was recorded as the lead charge. This contrasts with an average of only 1 month prison time for convictions where the recorded lead charge was just illegal entry. Together, these two statutes account for over nine out of ten (91 percent) of all immigration criminal prosecutions.
As mentioned above, this year is also the first year that recorded prosecutions for illegal reentry surpassed those of illegal entry, which have been declining from their high during FY 2009 (see Figure 2 for the twenty year trends for this statute).